© Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco Giants are a franchise that, despite underwhelming performance in recent years, have appeared to maintain a pretty stable and positive clubhouse. Derek Holland’s comments following Saturday night’s loss to the Cincinnati Reds had everybody talking, and not for good reason.
Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow joined Murph & Mac Monday morning to discuss Holland’s comments and what the current state of the locker room may be like. New President of Baseball Operations, Farhan Zaidi, has been making constant changes to the roster since the season began. could that be a driving force behind any potential uneasiness amongst players?
“Well I think Farhan is trying to put together the best team he can possibly put on the field,” Krukow said. “I think that’s what his job is. I think Derek Holland is frustrated, and I’ve been through what he’s been through. I won twenty games in 1986, then I won five in 1987. I was not the same guy. Although I kept thinking I was going to pull the strings and tighten it up and get it going, for most of that season I didn’t. When you are an athlete, you have an opinion of yourself and your ability and you’ll always be optimistic, no matter what numbers you put up.”
At the end of the day, baseball, and every professional sport is a business. When you’re not performing the way you are expected to, those in charge of you will question your production and try to figure out what’s going on. This is the case for Holland’s situation.
“You’re going to think ‘well I’m going to figure this out.’ But from the front office perspective and the manager perspective, when you go out there and you don’t perform well and you don’t have the same stuff that you had in their mind, they’re going to wonder why. He hurt his finger in spring training, he had an MRI in spring training, and that will lead us to believe that’s the reason your ERA is 6.75, which is where it is right now.”
Holland had a bounce-back season last year, following his struggles in year’s prior. A pleasant surprise for a 2018 Giants team that had very few pleasant moments, Holland established himself as one of the team’s better starting pitchers when he re-signed this winter.
“Last year he threw 171 innings and he had a 3.75 ERA. He had 169 strikeouts in those 171 innings, that’s good stuff! That’s the same kind of year that they signed him up for this year, and the type of year they were expecting. When he has fallen short of that performance level, they are wondering why. In their minds, they’re thinking ‘let’s calm him down here, let’s give him a breather.’ Another thing about Holland that you have to know: he’s game, he’s a gamer. He’s going to eat a lot of his minor injuries, and he’s not going to say a word about it.”
Zaidi’s first year guiding the Giants has been a rollercoaster thus far. Ever since spring training ended, the roster has changed dramatically, and it seems as if there is still more to come. There is speculation that constant roster turnover like the Giants are having, can cause a rift in the clubhouse, and can leave some players constantly looking over their shoulder. Could these moves have a negative impact on the team’s chemistry moving forward?
“Well they’re not winning, and that’s what affects the team’s chemistry. When you’re winning, when you’re scoring runs, everybody is cool with what’s going on. When you’re not winning, there’s going to be pressure on you to win, especially in an organization that has expectations, that has a legacy. This team is six games under .500, and they’re not hitting, they’re not hitting at all.”
Early on this season, the Giants’ pitching was dominant. The offense was almost non-existent, which made roster moves that much more important and necessary. Now that the pitching has been struggling as of late, changes to a pitching staff that showed flashes of dominance, could be looked at as unnecessary by some players.
“Now that their pitching, which held the line for the longest time is going through an eight-game slump, especially the first couple of innings, they’re going to pull some triggers. They’re going to give people the opportunity to try and re-ignite a source that is productive, that allows them to have better chances to win. Chemistry comes with winning, chemistry comes with production. It doesn’t come six games under .500.”
Recent additions to the Giants lineup, such as Mac Williamson, Tyler Austin, and Steven Vogt have proven to be productive thus far. The offense, despite being six games under .500, has been producing much better than it did to begin the season. This Giants team, when both pitching and hitting are clicking, can be successful. Until that consistency is achieved, moves will be made to help the issue.
Listen to Krukow’s full interview here: